Dramatic drone footage has emerged showing the bombardment of Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army by rebel fighters linked to al-Qaeda in a fierce battle near Aleppo. Rebel fighters bombarded the village of Khan Tuman with multiple missile strikes, before claiming victory over the Syrian army who then denied it had lost the village to opposing forces.
In the footage, the Syrian President's army is seen fighting a union of freedom fighters known as Jaish al-Fatah, which include the al-Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front. The strategic village of Khan Tuman is just six miles southwest of Aleppo and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that 73 people were killed, consisting of 40 rebel fighters and 33 government soldiers.
The footage shows rockets and missiles as they launch and head out toward the opposing forces, before terrifying shockwaves spread over the landscape. "The recapture of the area and surrounding villages means that the regime's lines of defence south of the country's second city have been pushed back," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
"Throughout the night the battles were very intense," said Abu al-Baraa al-Hamawi, a fighter from the Ajnad al-Sham group, one of the factions taking part in the attack. "Areas south of Khan Tuman have been liberated."
It comes as the US and Russia brokered an agreement to extend a ceasefire to Aleppo where an estimated 300 people have been killed in just two weeks due to aerial bombardment.
On 5 May at least 28 people were killed in an airstrike on a Syrian refugee camp, activists said. Women and children were reported among the victims of the bombardment that hit the Sarmada camp in the northern Idlib province housing Syrians displaced by the conflict.
"The number of the dead is likely to rise," said Britain-based SOHR, explaining that a large number of people suffered serious injuries. Videos and photos from the camp showed desperate women and children with their faces covered in blood being loaded on a pick-up truck as rescuers walking among charred bodies near the camp's tents.